previous next

AZOTUS Palestine, Israel.

A town in Philistia, whose Biblical name was Ashdod, one of the five lordships of the Philistines. To the NW of the ancient town a new, maritime town was built in the Hellenistic period, known as Azotus Paralios (coastal Azotus) while the other was then named Azotus Mesogeios (inland Azotus). Jonathan, brother of Judas Maccabeus, destroyed inland Azotus (I Macc. 10:77-8), and Jews settled there (I Macc. 11:4-5). During the reign of Alexander Jannaeus it was incorporated into the Judean kingdom (Joseph. AJ 13.395). Pompey restored its autonomy (Joseph. BJ 1.156). Herod seized it early in his reign, and maritime Azotus at that time became a Jewish town (Joseph. BJ 4.13), while inland Azotus was settled by Herod's veterans. It remained part of the domain of Herod's sister, and for some time it was in possession of Livia, wife of Augustus, and her son Tiberius (Joseph. AJ 17.189; 18.31, 159). During the Jewish War the city was conquered by Vespasian (Joseph. BJ 4.130). Azotus flourished in the Late Roman period (Eus. Onom. 20.18; 22.11). In the Byzantine period it was a bishopric and declined during the Arab period.

Extensive excavations have been in progress at inland Azotus since 1962. The remains of the two uppermost occupation levels (Byzantine and Roman) are poor, seeming to confirm that maritime Azotus was the more important town in this period. The towns of the Early Roman and Hellenistic periods are more important. On the acropolis, remains of large public buildings, probably in the agora, were unearthed. The finds, including official weights, marked with the names of agoranomoi, support this conclusion. Remains of private dwellings were unearthed on other parts of the mound.


M. Dothan & D. N. Freedman, “Ashdod I, the First Season of Excavations, 1962,” Atiqot VII (1967).


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 13.395
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 17.189
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 1.156
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 4.13
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 4.130
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: